Robert, I finally had some time to play with my ThOR 2 IR scope. Here are my thoughts which some may find of value:
1: Unless you are planning on using this $10k optic on a fairly regular basis within the laws of society, (ie: law enforcement, military, LEGAL night hunting/predator control), you should just pass.
2: While it is a really “neato” appurtenance for your crazy gun collection, it is pretty darned expensive and has a very, very limited use for about 99% of us . . .
3: The actual images I see with it are nowhere near as clear and crisp as the ones on ATN’s website [see: above]. Not sure how they set that up but it wasn’t from MY ThOR unit, that’s for certain.
4: My first real test of the unit was in the outskirts of Tucson, Arizona.
I have it mounted on a Remington 700-PSS chambered in .223 with a Gemtech G5 suppressor. I set it up on a bench and while I had brought a couple of those cool little disposable hand-warmers to staple on the center of the targets for sighting in purposes, I found that the sun had heated up the black ink-dot and at 100 yards I could easily center-up the digital cross-hairs on the target and got a fairly accurate group for not having a traditional sight picture.
My initial group was roughly 2″ at 100 yards – I know you guys are already thinking, “that’s fairly accurate? What is this guy, a completely inexperienced Cub Scout?”
If you looked through the optic and centered it up on the ink-dot image heated from the sun, you’d understand… After a bit of practice, I was able to coax the group down to about 1-1/4″ which is almost MOA with a really crappy sight-picture. I stopped with the sighting in process, (it was high-noon, yes, bright daylight), and we put it away until dark.
I have NEVER allowed ANYONE to point a weapon at me with impunity but once it got dark out, I pulled the bolt out of my rifle and with my very small group of trusted and quite competent shooters, I walked down-range and gave them the okay to point in on me.
Once that was finished, I did the pointing in and the image was pretty good for an almost completely dark night. I could identify the target as a human, standing or crouching, opening and closing his mouth due to the change in color, and I could identify the unloaded pistol in his hand as well as the unloaded rifle slung on his back but only when he turned around. I could see the pistol because the colder metallic frame was in between me and him. I could see the rifle but only when turned to present the colder image silhouetted against his body.
We then had someone sit inside of a truck and we could see the driver ONLY when he rolled down his window. With all windows up, the driver was completely invisible to the IR device. We then decided to try other heat-reflective objects and found that a simple “Space Blanket” or survival foil blanket also made the person impervious to the IR optic. Something to keep in mind if you’re fighting bad guys – make sure you’re scanning with night-vision devices as well as the IR just in case you get three insurgents sneaking up to your FOB with a sheet of glass in front of them….
5: Conclusions – Again, I wouldn’t spend the money on one unless you have plenty of it. I simply wanted one as I have many very expensive optics because there are so many out there but nowhere to actually go an check them all out in person, (okay, my gun safes are one place to do just that…).
It is just too expensive with a huge lack of actual necessity or use unless LEO/MIL/Fish & Game. I am working on a LEGAL night hunt opportunity in the near future with the ThOR, Gemtech G5 and a case of .223 and when that is complete, I will send an update.